A few weeks ago, we took our 5 month old baby to her first swimming experience. Of course we were very hesitant, had our reservations & questions… but after a lot of research & after asking a few moms about their experience, we decided to give it a go. Sharing a list on what we’ve packed that made it a wonderful first for our baby & the whole family too!
1. Swimwear- Of course! This goes without saying. Your baby will definitely need his trunks or her swimsuit for swimming.
2. Towel- Another basic thing to bring when swimming. Hooded towels are very convenient! You may also have a robe, it basically has the same function.
3. Floater- With so many floaters in the market, make sure you get the right floater for your baby depending on his/ her age.
4. Swim Diapers- Yes! There’s a different one for swimming. And take note, these are not substitute for your baby’s regular diapers. They are not absorbent, they do not contain urine or your baby’s poo. So why use them? It’s purpose is to contain solid waste only. You wouldn’t also want to use the regular ones that are absorbent because stored urine especially for a long time will definitely cause infection. There are disposable & washable swim diapers. Whichever works for you. We used Huggies Little Swimmers disposable diapers.
5. Sun Hat- Whether it’s sunny or raining, your baby will need protection from either. It’s best to have one! Getting sick is a no no!
6. Sunscreen- Just like you, your baby will need protection from the sun. Get the one that’s for ‘babies’, not for ‘kids’ because care different ones. We used Mustela Very High Sun Protection Lotion with SPF50.
7. Toys- Babies have a short attention span. Ready your energy, songs aaaaand some toys!
8. Food- Your baby might get hungry with all the playing, make sure their food (milk/ solid food) is ready! And bring a cover when you’re breastfeeding, I am so I did.
9. Baby Lotion/ Cream- As prescribed by the Paediatrician, use only baby lotion/ cream as needed. If you feel your baby’s skin needs to be moisturised after exposure to the sun or pool water, you will need lotion! There are ‘cooling’ ones that give baby a good feel especially that skin tends to be hot after long hours of exposure to the sun. Used Mustela Nourishing Cream with Cold Cream.
10. Small Bag- Because there’s a big bag where you put EVERYTHING, you should have a small bag where you place everything that’s on the list. This is the bag you carry around & where it’s easy to get what you need for your baby when swimming. Best if it’s water resistant.
These are just a few important things when going on a beach getaway, of course there’s a lot more in the Mommy Bag. That’s for sure! I mean, the diaper bag is as important. Should you have any questions about this or our experience please hit me up. Hope this helps & you have a blast on your trip!
“Your story is not just your story. It is for others to learn and know. And one day you will share these experiences to others- mothers, single ladies and many more. I just feel that this season of yours is going to make you a better person for His glory. I sense the unfolding of greatness, the unveiling of His love and the showering of joy. The Lord is not done with you yet.”
This was my sister’s message in the middle of my 1st trimester. These words were the beginning of a realization for me & I truly thank God for people like my sister who continuously remind me that the life I live is His.
This inspired me to share about what I experienced & felt during the first few months of my pregnancy. Which means the experiences & feelings each mother goes through are different. I say “mother” because pregnancy is already part of “motherhood”, in fact, it is the beginning of it. If you’re somebody who’s expecting or who’s praying to have a baby, I hope this gives you an idea what happens during pregnancy & that you’ll be able to prepare for it.
Oh the joys of breaking the news that you’re pregnant! The day has finally come when your prayers have been answered, the future looks bright as you start pinning adorable baby outfits, maternity fashion, checking out lists of what you’ll need when the baby is out, thinking of booking a photographer for your maternity & baby shoot, planning for a baby shower & the list goes on. All of these are great & they’re a beautiful side to pregnancy but the hard or challenging reality will get to you as pregnancy progresses. Mothers or every parent will agree that those mentioned are just tiny bits, parts or the sweet little things to motherhood or parenting.
The first few weeks of my pregnancy were difficult. Although I hear some pregnancies are flawless, mine was one of the usual cases. Usually during the 1st trimester pregnant women experience morning sickness, excessive vomiting, swollen breasts, weird cravings at the same time distaste for some food while appetite increases, amplified urine movement, nausea, heartburn, acne breakouts, mood swings, skin discoloration, are more susceptible to illness & so much more. Some experience these for months & some even during the whole duration of the pregnancy. (If you’re a guy reading this & you’re expecting, take notes! You’re wife isn’t overreacting, these things happen!)
For me this meant, stopping work, ministry & all other activities I had in a snap! I remember my husband telling me one time that his head was aching because he wasn’t able to drink coffee, I tell him, “Just imagine how I feel?”. For a coffee lover who drinks about 3 cups a day & letting go of that in an instant, not to mention everything else my body goes through, the struggle was very real. And that’s just one. Being pregnant means sacrifice. This is just the beginning.
Shout out to EVERY MOM! You are beautiful, strong & truly Wonderwoman! I hear new moms say, “Dear Mom, I get you now”. I have only been given the starter if this was a full set course meal yet I feel you. And I just want to say THANK YOU. You are amazing!
During this time (1st trimester) we found out I had hemorrhage, which had me stay at home for a month & a half. I was usually in bed & these were the times I kept crying & I honestly tell my husband & myself “I’m tired already”. As if giving up was an option. Of course not! I often hear people say, “the baby is worth it” or “it will be worth it”. No doubt but for usual cases or even crucial cases wherein bed rest is a requirement for 9 months & the struggle is very real, I realized this… Like any other thing that we say is worth it, like marriage or whatever matters to you for the world & in this case, the baby… ________________ (whatever it is) is not enough reason to stay strong… Jesus will always be the answer, the reason. I don’t know how I’d reach this point without Jesus.
Jesus… keeping me strong, giving me a hardworking & patient husband who was & is with me through the whole process, giving me family & friends who would communicate, encourage, visit, cook, bring food, pray with me & show any kind of support. Jesus made all of these things happen. And these things gave me so much comfort & joy during this phase.
If you’re one of those who did those things mentioned above, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much you’ve brought a great impact during my pregnancy. You know who you are. Your names will forever be carved in my heart.
During the 2nd trimester, the hemorrhage healed. Answered prayer! This time, I am able to go out, however, because of everything else that comes with pregnancy; I had to stay at home more often. My husband & I had the mindset of, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. Like I said, pregnant women are more susceptible to diseases. We don’t want to risk it. Also during this time, my appetite was waaaaay better, as what most would say, the 2nd trimester is the best time. Naturally, I gained weight & there’s no shame in that. Pregnant women have to gain for their baby’s health. So when people comment about how much you’ve gained, have the confidence that what goes on in your body is no joke & if that meant being chubby or fat even, you wouldn’t have it any other way for your baby’s sake. Giiiiiiirl, YOU’RE BODY IS THE TRUE WONDERLAND. Especially during this time when you’ll be able to feel the kicks, pokes & even turns! How amazing is your body, His creation.
Pregnancy hormones kick in & I had times when I’d look to the future, would feel very emotional because the realities of motherhood or parenting would sink in. The beauty & the struggle in one scenario made me pray for God to give me a MOTHER’S HEART. An intentional loving mother who will be able to give what’s best for my child in the way GOD wants her (YES IT’S A GIRL) to be raised. Not just me but for my husband & I to be purposeful parents. As one of the mothers I know would put it, #MomOnaMission. Yes we are, yes I am. Being a parent has always been a prayer & a dream. And I do not take lightly the grace that’s been given to my husband & I. #ParentwithaPurpose. We have this in mind, we are the keepers of the next generation, which are the world changers. A vessel for His glory to be made known in the generations to come.
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, HIs power & the wonders He has done… so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, & they in turn would tell their children. Psalm 78:4 & 6
Writing this as we enter the 3rd or last trimester. Physically, baby’s movements are really felt, the struggle of the weight is getting more challenging everyday, stretch marks are in & skin has been very itchy due to the continuous stretch. I also don’t mind, although I plan to let them go when baby is out. I don’t mind if this is the way my body is responding to the stretch to make room for the baby inside. These marks are beautiful marks. Truly there is growth in stretching. Very true in life. As baby grows & tummy stretches, it is not only the physical that’s doing all the action. Body, soul, mind, heart & spirit are being stretched & are grown, by His grace. And I’m really grateful for that.
This is it! Another season of experiencing Jesus. A few more weeks & we’ll be able to hold baby in our arms. Nothing but expectant hearts knowing He holds the future & that His promises are yes & amen.
Last Christmas, our families went on a beach getaway at Club Serena, Moalboal. We took the chance to have our maternity shoot. And the 2nd setting was when we had our advance anniversary celebration at Kandaya Resort, Daanbantayan, since I am due on the same month as our wedding. By that time, baby would still be a few days or weeks old & we’re not certain we can go out to for a celebration. Nonetheless, reaching 2 years with a baby in our home would be the best gift, the best celebration yet. All glory to God. DIY photos by my dear hubby, sharing them as inspirations for your shoot too! Both locations are in Cebu, Philippines.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deutoronomy 6:6-9
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
Just when we were about to land, the plane turns then my husband goes…
“look out, you’ll never see that in other countries”.
And on the same day he says “let’s book tickets every time there are promo fares”.
It is impossible not to love Siargao.
Some say this island has a magnet. I agree.
So what’s in this beautiful island? As much as I want people to discover for themselves, I just can’t zip it. This is how stoked this place is.
Maps from Google
Situated in the province of Surigao del Norte is the enchanting Siargao, a tear- drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea with approximately 437 square kilometers land area. Siargao is known for its waves & is dubbed as the Philippine’s surfing capital. It is composed of municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro.
WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO GO?
THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN SIARGAO
Although Siargao is famous for surfing, for me, you get hooked to Siargao not just because of surfing but because of the whole island life experience.
With a lot of surfing spots, it is known to be the surfing capital of the Philippines. One of or the most famous surfing spots is CLOUD 9 which has a reputation of reaching up to 9ft & thick with hollow tubes making barrels in surfing.
That’s Reel, the husband, gracefully gliding his way through the waves while I stare in awe from afar. Do you see me?
Cloud 9 is where the provincial government of Surigao del Norte holds the Annual Siargao Cup during September where the waves get really big. Surfing conditions are divine from August to November.
Surf Spots Cloud 9, Caridad, Cemetery, Guyam Island, Jacking Horse, La Janoza, Mamon, Antokon, Anajauan Island, Pacifico, Pansukian Reef, Pilar, Rock Island, Stimpy’s, Tuason’s Point & many more.
You’ve got to get rid of the voice that’s screaming, you can’t & listen to that still small voice that’s saying LET GO. Let Go & Let God.
Eyes here! Check out the Surfing & Diving Spots.
Offshore, there are 3 islands to go to- the Naked Island, Daku Island & Guyam Island. The naked island is as it is- naked with lush sand bar while Daku & Guyam Islands are covered with dozens of coconut palm trees. Three Islands have equally pristine sandy beaches surrounding them.
Serene waters captivating my soul
You can get fresh buko juice at Daku Guyam Island for P30
You don’t want to mess around a guy who’s having a vaction
Guyam Island featuring Lea Carla
Photo from Carla Pesquira
Although Siargao is famous for surfing, diving does not take a back seat & does not fall far from the known surfing spots in the Philippines. Dive sites near Daku & Naked Island are Casulian, Pilar Twin Rocks, Shark Point, Blue Cathedral, Puyo and Seeco Reef. You can also do free diving.
Indulged on Bren’s Chicken TV. For orders, you may contact him at 09324120431
You will never go hungry in this island, you will always have something awesome to eat. My husband & I couldn’t try all of them but here were some of the places we went to dine. If you’re on a budget, you can shop at the market & at the grocery store for ingredients & cook them at the place where you’re renting. Gladly we have a chef- friend who blessed us with his passion.
If you’re on a budget, buy food at the Market & cook ’em! Fresh catch & very affordable.
F&B at Kermit’s is SUPERB! And the ambiance is just perfect. My favorite from this trip.
Got their Fish Kebab, Gnocchi Pasta, Focaccia Pizza, Mojitos & Pina Colada EVERYTHING WAS GOOOOOOOOOD
Chill Place & Yoga Area at the back of Kermit
If you’re looking for something healthy & hearty, SHAKA is the place to be
Shaka’s BAKUNAWA BOWL, a mixture of quinoa, natural yogurt,island fruits, granola & honey
Morning Fix- COCONANA, a mixture of banana, honey, chia seeds & coconut milk
MAGPUPUNGKO ROCK POOL
Who needs a manmade pool when you have this natural wonder in this place? About 39 minutes from General Luna, you’ll be able to experience the Magpupungko Rock Pool. Make sure you visit during low tide or else this beauty will be hidden by the bounty of water from the sea.
Sugba Lagoon is about 58 minutes from General Luna. There you can swim, paddle board, take photos & videos or simply chill. We weren’t able to go there at this time. Now that’s a reason to come back!
Photos by Bren Fuentes
Approximately 2-hour drive from General Luna to Socorro is another beauty- Sohoton Cave where you can swim with the stingless jellyfish!
Photos by Bren Fuentes
With the scenic views & a-ok roads, you with family & friends would surely enjoy going around the island on a leisurely bike or motor ride or exercise through cycling or running. You can bring your own bike/ motorbike or rent them. Daily rental for bikes are P150 per person & P500 for motorbikes.
Photo by Carla Pesquira
Massage areas are just around the vicinity & you can also let the masseuse go at your place where you’re more comfortable. We got ours for P400 each.
Other things you can do are Yoga/ Sup Yoga, Kayak/ Paddle board
Yoga Centers are available here & there. You may ask the resort personnel where you can do your Yoga, I saw one at Kermit & at the Boardwalk in Cloud 9. As well as renting a kayak to go island hopping or paddle boarding around the beach just before reaching the area where the waves break for surfing.
Team Matanjak Represent at the Acoustic Night in Buddha
There are daily activities in the island, there’s an Acoustic Night at Buddha every Tuesday. Here are some of the events happening in the Island. For other information on the happenings in Siargao, you may check Siargao Classifieds & Siargao Events on facebook or check hashtags on Siargao online.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
Love to take photos & videos? Whether your goal is to take fashion, sports or travel & having models as your subject or landscapes, Siargao is the place to be. You will see a lot of photographers & videographers around the plus photos online. Talk about FEED GOALS. Here are some of the photos that made me swoon.
Surfer Beauties- Aping & Ikit Agudo
Aping in Action
Ikit in Action
Aping & Ikit in Action- Known for Dancing in Long Boards
Sunrise & Sunset Shots of Bren Fuentes
Beach Bae- Lea Duhaylungsod
Awesome Shots by Gaps Sabuero
For more interesting shots, follow them on instagram.
Another attraction that’s soon to rise! Check Siargao Wake Park for updates.
My Surf Instructors, Bren & Papa P
This I believe makes a big difference to your Siargao experience. Well, you could say you can do all of these things to the other parts of the Philippines or in the world for that matter but all of the above plus the interaction that you get is the cherry on top.
The moment we got to Siargao till the end, we felt the warmth of every soul, local or tourist, we’ve encountered.
Good food & good company!
Dinner & Hang Out at Matanjak
Saying our “see you’s”, not our goodbyes
HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
Here are your options:
DIRECT TO SIARGAO
Fly directly to Siargao via Cebu. All direct flights are currently via Cebu through Cebu Pacific Airlines (www.cebupacificair.com) with approximately 50 mins. back & forth.
SURIGAO CITY TO SIARGAO
Fly to Surigao City then ride a ferry to Siargao.
BUTUAN TO SURIGAO TO SIARGAO
Fly to Butuan then ride a bus to Surigao City then ride a ferry to Siargao.
FERRY FROM SURIGAO TO SIARGAO
Ride a ferry from Surigao City to Siargao.
There are many ferries or the Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) that travel from Surigao City to Siargao that connect to the Dapa Port in Siargao which cost approximately p210- p350 per person. Ferries accommodate cars & trucks. Travel usually takes 2 to 3 hours depending which vessel you’ll ride.
Surigao to Siargao- leaves 12PM
Siargao to Surigao- leaves at 6AM
MV Fortune Angel
Surigao to Siargao- leaves 11:30AM
Siargao to Surigao- leaves 5:30AM
Surigao to Siargao- leaves 6AM
Siargao to Surigao- leaves 11AM
Surigao to Siargao- leaves 6AM
Siargao to Surigao- leaves10:30AM
FERRY FROM CEBU/MANILA TO SIARGAO
Ride a ferry from Cebu or Manila to Siargao (via Surigao City)
From Cebu, you may ride Cokaliong Shipping Lines (www.cokaliongshipping.com) or Cebu Ferries Corporation (www.cebuferries.com) which is an overnight trip. When you arrive at Surigao City take the next ferry to Siargao.
Cokaliong Shipping Lines Schedule:
From Manila, you may ride Manila Superferries (www.superferry.com.ph) which takes approximately 30 hours to get to Surigao. Then, when you arrive at Surigao City take the next ferry to Siargao.
Ride a bus from Davao & Cagayan de Oro via Butuan and Surigao City
24 hour Bus services are readily available in the places mentioned. Once you get to the bus terminal, check the daily schedule.
Airport/ Pier Pick- up Transfer Service
If you booked in a resort, most likely you’ll have transfer services already, you may check with them. If not, they will recommend transfer services or you may contact the numbers below. Fee is P300 per person but if you’re on a private trip/ transfer it’s usually 1,500.
Dodong Digman- 09215111009
Elmer Mantilla Nogera “Capitan”- 09287572585
WHERE TO STAY?
Nowadays, this question is very easy to answer. You can just google them then boom, you’ll see the list of resorts in Siargao. If you want a luxurious experience you can stay at Dedon but if you’re on a budget, no worries! Siargao is relatively affordable. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stay in General Luna because there are a lot surfing spots nearby but if you wanna get on the big waves, you may stay at Cloud 9.
We stayed in MATANJAK. We were blessed by our friend, Bren. This was his wedding gift to us. Horray! Blessed even more to encounter warm people there.
For inquiries you may check them on facebook- Matanjak Guest House.